TIM WALKER on Philip Hammond’s post-political success, Leave.eu’s billowing debt and the Sunday Times as Michael Gove’s cheerleader.
New documents in at Companies House show he has taken back control of Chiswell (Moorgate) Limited, the money-spinning property empire that he put into the hands of trustees during his period as chancellor. Hammond has also become a senior adviser at OakNorth Bank, a non-executive director at the packaging outfit Ardagh Group SA, a director at the American private equity firm Matrix Partners, and a partner, too, in Buckthorn LLP, which specialises in investment opportunities in the energy sector.
As if all that wasn’t enough, Hammond also has a sideline in after-dinner speaking for the Washington Speakers’ and London Speakers’ Bureaux.
Since Hammond is no longer an MP, his total annual earnings are unlikely ever to be disclosed to anyone but his taxman, but, even with the strictures imposed by the coronavirus, they will almost certainly be around the £1 million a year mark.
Johnson, whose innumerable children have left him with significant outgoings and an annual income curtailed by the premiership, is likely to be green with envy.
GOOD OLD EU LAW
At a time when journalists need to push for transparency more than ever, Sam Tobin, the Press Association’s court reporter, sets a shining example. In a ‘virtual’ sitting of the High Court last week, Tobin asked Mr Justice Warby for a copy of a video that allegedly shows Alistair Barclay – the son of Sir David Barclay – planting a bug in the Ritz hotel to record commercially sensitive conversations between Sir Frederick Barclay and his daughter Amanda.
Heather Rogers, the QC representing Sir David Barclay’s side of the family in the privacy case, argued that, under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Alistair’s privacy would be compromised by the release of the video. ‘It’s an unusual submission claiming someone’s right to privacy when he’s in the process of invading someone else’s privacy,’ Tobin riposted.
Warby said that, for the time being, he was not minded to make an order allowing the release of the video, but admitted Rogers’ argument was ‘at the lower end of the scale’. In the High Court last year, Tobin persuaded the judges hearing Gina Miller’s case that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful to release damning handwritten notes from Johnson that showed he was plotting to shut down parliament for quite some time.
Strangely enough, there was not a word about the proceedings in the Brexit-backing Daily Telegraph, the newspaper owned by the Barclay family. Rather awkward, I fancy, that Sir David’s brief should be citing the European Convention on Human Rights.
BANK OF BANKS
Four years on from the EU referendum, it’s by no means clear what purpose Arron Banks’ campaign group Leave.Eu Group Limited serves, but it’s still managing to rack up debts.
Its latest accounts show a £500,000 deficit, which brings the outfit’s total losses to £6,877,000 as of September 30 last year. Despite all the red ink, the company says it’s a ‘going concern’ with ‘a loan facility’ from an unidentified director. Whether it is the bank of Banks – who remains on the board – is not disclosed.
Mandrake has for some months now been campaigning for an inquiry to establish who it is that is leaking such absurdly flattering stories about Michael Gove to the Sunday Times’ political editor Tim Shipman. It therefore pains me to say that the phantom leaker has struck again.
On Sunday the big coronavirus, news according to Shipman – so big in fact that he kicked off a two-page feature with it – was that Gove had come up with ‘the most memorable description’ about what Boris Johnson was trying to do in relation to halting the spread of the virus. The leaker said that Gove had told an online meeting of the cabinet that it was a bit like ‘landing an aircraft on a dangerously narrow runway’.
Shipman doesn’t relate whether fellow members of the cabinet broke into a spontaneous round of applause at such magnificent Wildean wordplay.